Echinococcus canadensis cluster, Echinococcus equinus, Echinococcus granulosus, Echinococcus multilocularis, Echinococcus oligarthra, Echinococcus ortleppi, Echinococcus shiquicus, Echinococcus vogeli, Epidemiology, Life cycle, Parasite ecology, Transmission
The genus Echinococcus is composed of eight generally recognized species and one genotypic cluster (Echinococcus canadensis cluster) that may in future be resolved into one to three species. For each species, we review existing information on transmission routes and life cycles in different geographical contexts and - where available - include basic biological information of parasites and hosts (e.g., susceptibility of host species). While some Echinococcus spp. are transmitted in life cycles that involve predominantly domestic animals (e.g., dog - livestock cycles), others are wildlife parasites that do or do not interact with domestic transmission. In many cases, life cycle patterns of the same parasite species differ according to geography. Simple life cycles contrast with transmission patterns that are highly complex, involving multihost systems that may include both domestic and wild mammals. Wildlife transmission may be primary or secondary, i.e., resulting from spillovers from domestic animals. For most of the species and regions, existing information does not yet permit a conclusive description of transmission systems. Such data, however, would be highly relevant, e.g., for anticipation of geographical changes of the presence and frequency of these parasites in a warming world, or for initiating evidence-based control strategies.